Worldstar Winners 2020 - Lifetime Achievement in Packaging Award

Keith Pearson, South Africa

Name of recipient: 
Keith Pearson
Personal award category: 
Lifetime Achievement in Packaging Award

In 1970, Keith started his packaging career as an engineer at Kohler Corrugated and was later transferred to fill the role of production manager at the Namibian-based corrugated converter, Walvis Bay Containers.  For many years, the company was South Africa’s second largest packaging company, eventually being acquired by Nampak in 2002.
Throughout the following decades, Keith continued to growth within the Kohler group in which he advanced to the role of Divisional Chief Executive. Over 48 years spent in the packaging industry, Keith Pearson has dedicated his life to packaging in Africa. Keith became closely involved in packaging development throughout Africa, helping to create packaging institutes such as those in Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania, and ultimately the establishment of the African Packaging Organisation.  He became an integral part of the rapidly-developing global packaging community where developed and developing countries were able to network and share knowledge. Keith was part of the WPO leadership team for 18 years, at one stage heading up the organisation’s education committee before going on to serve two terms as President (2006-2011) – the organisation’s first African President – and then as General Secretary (2012-2018).  As WPO President Keith spent much time criss-crossing the globe in pursuit of WPO’s goal of ‘Better quality of life through better packaging for more people’.  Further evidence of his passion for packaging education and expansion was unveiled when Keith travelled to Iran on three occasions to help in the establishment of the Iranian Institute of Packaging.  
Keith was elected head boy of the college he attended and was captain of the first rugby team. For 40 years, he has been a member of Gideons International, visiting schools and addressing around 10,000 students each year, and distributing Bibles. In 1996, he completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.


Joe Foster, Australia

Name of recipient: 
Joe Foster
Personal award category: 
Lifetime Achievement in Packaging Award

Joe Foster, Managing Director, OF Packaging has had a passion for flexible packaging for most of his life and has run four flexible packaging businesses across four countries over the last thirty five years and is proof that he sees beyond what flexible packaging is, to what it can be, and hopes to create an evolved understanding of flexible packaging and the place it holds in society. His goal is to improve the relationship we all have with plastics, helping inspire new respect for packaging and lead towards improved consumer and waste behaviours. Joe has provided countless free innovation and sustainability presentations and seminars to a variety of industry sectors, as well as sessions for large private corporations and global clients overseas. The numerous recognition and awards won by both Foster and Omniverse Foster in both packaging and business spheres have been of great importance to Joe.
Joe was also the first to multiple markets with short run digital printing and local pouch-manufacturing, offering services across South Africa, UK, Ireland, Australia and NZ before any other packaging company. Joe himself helped engineer the pouch machine currently used by O.F. Pack.  
 Joe’s expertise is well noted by the packaging community in Australia and New Zealand, and his success hasn’t gone unnoticed. Joe was awarded the 2019 PIDA Industry Packaging Professional of the Year Award for his years in the flexible packaging industry. OF Packaging has also won numerous PIDA Awards.
 Outside of the packaging sphere, his entrepreneurial spirit and strong work ethic saw him win the 3AW small business award, while also prompting the Victorian Government to use his story for an international migration campaign. The businesses contribution to the economy, 30+ employees, and continued investment in local printing and manufacturing, shows a great commitment to the Australian packaging industry that few other suppliers share.